GERMAN racing driver Adrian Sutil has received an 18-month suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of causing GBH (Grevilous Bodily Harm). The ex-Force India racer was convicted in a two-day trial in Munich after an incident occured at a Shanghai nightclub which left the chief executive of Genii Capital, Eric Lux with injuries. Sutil, 29 has also being given a 200,000 euro fine which according to Planet F1, will be donated to charities. He becomes the first active F1 racing driver to be found guilty of an off-track skirmish since Belgian driver Bertrand Gachot was controversially jailed in the summer of 1991 for spraying CS gas at a London taxi driver.
The confrontation between Sutil and Lux happened on the evening of Lewis Hamilton’s stunning victory at last April’s Chinese Grand Prix. Sutil, a close friend of Hamilton’s was celebrating his success when an incident with a champagne glass occured which left Lux needing stitches after sustaining cuts to his head and neck. Lux’s company own the Lotus Formula One team, formerly known as Renault. Despite being asked to testify, Hamilton was unable to attend due to commitments with McLaren. Sutil apologised to Lux in a statement and via a phone call, although it is believed that no face-to-face apology was given by the driver. On Monday in court, The German was quoting by the Reuters news agency; “I did everything to try to settle this row, I am really sorry, extremely sorry. I never wanted for this to happen.”
Despite finishing ninth in the drivers championship, including strong sixth place finishes at the Nurburgring and in Brazil, Sutil’s Formula One career looked bleak before court proceedings were set against him. He lost his Force India drive to Nico Hulkenberg before Christmas and was beaten to the vacant Williams seat recently to Brazilian Bruno Senna. There has been talk of a third driver role at Ferrari, considering that they have let their young Italian Jules Bianchi out on loan to Force India to compete in Friday sessions in 2012. However, this sentence might scupper those chances too.
It looks like Adrian Sutil’s Formula One career, which did show signs of solid promise have now reached an ultimate crossroads.